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This happens to me a lot, and I'm sure I can't be the only one. It goes like this:

  1. I google something very, very specific.

  2. One of the results will be something generic, like "housesforsale.com," but in the result sample/description beneath the main link, I'll see a snippet of exactly what I'm looking for, a perfect text match.

  3. I click the link, and it only brings me to the main site, like housesforsale.com, and no amount of searching through the site ever turns up the location of that specific snippet which MUST be there somewhere.

How can I get around this problem?

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  • Wait-- should this go to web apps SE? Still not completely sure where to draw the line.
    – Aerovistae
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 20:32
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    It's off topic here, and I'd migrate this to Webapps.SE, but since I've personally never experienced what you describe it would definitely help to add a real-world example.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 20:34

1 Answer 1

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I've had this happen a lot, too.

Firstly, you need to understand that there's a problem with your statement

"that specific snippet which MUST be there somewhere."

What would make it correct is to say

"that specific snippet which MUST HAVE BEEN there somewhere, at the time when Google last indexed it."

Once you understand that, look harder at the types of sites that you're seeing that supposedly have your search-term.

For me, they're usually heavy on advertising, with little or no real content. Kind of like the spammers of the internet-search world (I don't know the official terms for them), these folks seem to make sites that have all sorts of interesting content, that is totally unrelated to their site's real topic. They get indexed, and stay in the index until Google works out that they're rubbish and de-indexes them. But during the time in-between, they come up in search results.

YMMV - but in general, the answer is to apply discernment to the URLs of the presented search-results, as well as the snippet, and only follow up URLs that I your judge to have a high chance of being good for the type of item you are searching for.

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